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Professional athletes and coaches

Not only doctors and engineers but also the so-called “special occupational groups” have access to the German labour market. Special occupational groups are skilled workers who require a specific qualification profile or have to be part of an essential economic sector in order to work in their profession. Skilled qualified professionals that require a specific qualification profile or have an existing public interest. Professional athletes and coaches are part of that specific occupational group.

As a citizen of the EU, the European Economic Area or Switzerland you require neither an entry visa nor a residence permit in order to work as a professional athlete or coach in Germany.

As citizen of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the USA you may enter Germany without a visa and obtain a residence permit after entering the country.

If you are a professional athlete or coach and come from a foreign country, you will initially require an entry visa that must later be converted into a residence permit. This residence permit allows foreign athletes and coaches to practice their profession for a limited time period. As a professional athlete or coach from a non-EU country, you must apply for your visa at the competent German mission abroad before entering the country. The application must be approved by the local Foreigners' Authority (Ausländerbehörde) of the intended place of residence in Germany. The approval of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) is not required. The following requirements must be met in order to obtain a residence permit:

  • The athlete or coach must be at least 16 years of age and is intended to practice their profession in a German sports club or comparable sports establishment, provided that the establishment participates in competitive sports.
  • The sports club or establishment pays the athlete or coach sufficiently in order for them to cover their living costs (at least 50 percent of the income threshold of the statutory pension insurance).
  • The responsible central association for the sport and the German Sports Federation by mutual agreement confirm the athlete’s athletic qualification or the coach’s professional competence.
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